A Flagship for Wellness: An interview with Longevi...

A Flagship for Wellness: An interview with Longevity’s CEO Nazir Sacoor

By: Bruno Filipe Pires

Essential speaks with Longevity CEO Nazir Sacoor, whose five-star health and wellness hotel, developed in alliance with the HPA Group, opened over the summer in Alvor

First and foremost, it is important to clarify concepts: “I feel that often times there is still some confusion between medical tourism and wellness tourism,” starts Nazir Sacoor, CEO of Longevity Wellness Worldwide. “In the first case, people have a specific health issue and look for a solution abroad due to prices or when the medical specialty doesn’t exist in their country. It’s a reactive tourism,” he states.

“Wellness tourism however, is much more proactive. It’s aimed at people who are healthy but suffer from an imbalance and look to add to their vacation some sort of prevention. Almost like an annual reset to strengthen their immune system, purify the organism or even loose a few kilos,” Sacoor explains.

This is precisely the strategic positioning of the new unit in Alvor, Portimão, which the brand opened in the third trimester of 2019 in partnership with the HPA Health group. “It was always our ambition to open a new flagship, a new structuring project which also offered different services in a five-star unit created from scratch,” assures the CEO. “We were looking to do it between Cascais and Sintra when we were ap- proached by HPA Health. The president, Dr João Bacalhau, told us he had a plot in Alvor and that he wanted to develop a unique hotel project linked to health,” he recalls.

“We had a meeting, discussed ideas and realised we share the same vision, which is a crucial factor in a successful, long-term partnership. The marriage of institutional and financial capital, along with the knowledge and experience from HPA and Longevity, is the foundation of this alliance,” Nazir Sacoor underlines.

The business model is similar to that of most international hotels. There is a proprietary entity, whose main shareholder is HPA, and Longevity will provide the brand and manage the hotel. “In cases where our guests require additional healthcare content — besides those available in the hotel’s own medical spa, through diagnosis, specialty consultations and certain distinct therapies — the HPA group offers hospital support. This is crucial in order to compete with the top international benchmarks,” he says.

According to the CEO, Longevity already works in the medical field, with a complementary approach to conventional medicine. “The group promotes preventive, customised, holistic and regenerative medicine through its team of healthcare professionals. This modern medicine tries to recommend and apply the best therapy combinations for each case.” For example, HPA can prescribe complementary diagnostic tests, digital dermoscopy, specialty consults, and hyperbaric therapy, among other services. “In summary, the hotel will work independently but, when necessary, it can call on HPA’s specialised services,” Sacoor explains.

The hotel is mostly targeted at adults. “The bulk of our clients are people between 40 and 70 years old, some with high stress levels, who lead very busy lives and have poor food and lifestyle habits, and even have emotional and interpersonal issues.”

There will be 70 accommodation units available, including standard rooms, junior and themed suites, along with a premium suite. In two floors, the hotel will also offer an area dedicated to relaxation, wellbeing and health, with spa, fitness, beauty, detox, weight-loss and body- and face-reshaping services, among other treatments.

Two restaurants have been planned according to Longevity’s philosophy, serving healthy and fresh food. Two indoor pools, a Turkish bath, an infusion room using Epsom salt (a mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulphate with many health benefits), a fully equipped gym and a rooftop pool complete the offer for all hotel guests, whether they are on a leisure holiday or integrated in specific offers from health & wellness programmes.

“Clients will range from couples who come for a weekend getaway, for example; to what we call ‘light-wellness consumers’, who want a simple three- to five-nights retreat with spa, fitness, detox, mindfulness or beauty treatments; as well as an assortment of guests seeking more intense and specialised programmes. Detox, weight-loss and reshaping [therapies] are the leaders in this segment worldwide,” Sacoor reveals.

But there is more: “We will have others, with stays ranging from 7 to 28 nights. There will be a programme dedicated to sleep disorders and another for obesity, which, much like diabetes, are major issues affecting today’s society. Finally, we will offer anti-ageing treatments, premium check-ups and cosmetic surgery (at HPA). All within a five-star boutique hotel,” he highlights.

The unit makes for Longevity’s third operation in the Algarve, where Nazir Sacoor believes it is still worth investing. “It’s the best region in Portugal for this type of offer. It has an excellent climate, a major factor in wellness tourism, easy accessibility, beaches, golf, nature and safety, which is very important.”

As for the Longevity brand, the CEO says it is always aware of big world trends. “There is no doubt this segment will continue to grow significantly worldwide. And this is where we want to focus. Our entire team, from administration, direction and doctors to nurses and osteopaths, is always studying new developments in disease prevention. We are constantly updating our offers based on good international practices. Wellness isn’t just an exfoliation and a yoga class; any hotel does that. Wellness tourism means understanding what is happening to health, why people are suffering from chronic and serious illnesses at increasingly younger ages; understanding the factors that contribute to that and what medical and non-medical solutions can be employed to help people stop these processes and offering them better quality of life,” says Nazir Sacoor.

The Longevity hotel offers standard prices starting at €220 per night, for two people, including breakfast.

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